The DIA speaks up on your behalf to promote the creative sector and protect the work of designers.

The DIA is committed to promoting design as a core contributor in maintaining the quality of business, society and our environment.

We are actively involved in the following areas affecting the creative sector and will continue to advocate on behalf of both our members and and the Australian design community.

  • Protecting your IP
    Inquiry into Intellectual Property arrangements (2015-16)
    Australia’s intellectual property arrangements are currently under review.

    The Australian Government has asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a 12 month public inquiry into Australia’s intellectual property system.

    The DIA had previously submitted to the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property (ACIP) review of the designs system in 2014. Among the measures that the DIA supported were:

    • increasing the term of protection for registered designs from ten years to fifteen years, in line with the term of protection stipulated in the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs (Hague);
    • clarifying the definition, purpose and utility of Statements of Newness and Distinctiveness (SoNDs) and making the SoNDs mandatory
    • adopting elements of the UK and European Community Unregistered Design Rights systems.

    A draft report of the findings from the inquiry is expected to be released at the end of April and the final report in August 2016.

    The DIA has lodged a response to the Government’s Issues Paper, that was released to the public in October 2015. The response was prepared by Julie Hobbs, President, Design Institute of Australia and Bradley Schott, NSW State Councillor, Design Institute of Australia.

    Response from the DIA to the Productivity Commission’s Issue Paper (October 2015).

    Join the DIA’s call to expose the ’replicas’ market.

  • Powerhouse museum
    Response to the proposed relocation and closure and redevelopment of the Ultimo site

    In February 2015, the NSW Premier the Hon Mike Baird announced that if the Coalition Government were re-elected, Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum would be moved to Parramatta and the existing site at Ultimo would be sold to developers.

    The DIA has been involved with the Powerhouse since its inception and collaborated with the Museum to produce the first Sydney Design Week in 2007.

    The DIA is committed to promoting design as a core contributor in maintaining the quality of business, society and our environment.

    The DIA fully supports the establishment of a Parramatta branch of the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS), but this should be developed following consultation with the community and as part of a broader cultural planning policy.

    We oppose the closure and redevelopment of the Powerhouse Museum in Ultimo believing it to be a short-sighted decision in that it will limit rather than enhance access to significant collections.

    We have expressed concern over the uncertainty over the future of the collection and the broader role the Powerhouse plays for the design community. As a participant in the NSW Government’s industry-led task force for the NSW creative industries, we will continue to work with the Powerhouse and NSW Government to advocate for further public consultation on what we consider to be such a significant proposal.

    Position paper: Powerhouse Museum

  • Cultural investment
    Senate Inquiry into the impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts

    In May 2015 the then Arts Minister George Brandis annoucned that more than $104 million from the Australia Council for the Arts – the Australian Government’s arts funding and advisory body which funds artists and arts organisations through an independent peer review process – would be diverted to a new National Program for Excellence in the Arts (NPEA) fund administered by the ministry

    The announcement was greeted with immediate concern from the Australian cultural sector.

    As the representative of Australia’s design practitioners, the DIA shared these concerns and advocated for appropriate funding of the arts and the creative sector.

    There was a chorus of almost 3000 submissions and representations to the subsequent Inquiry into the Impact of the 2014 and 2015 Commonwealth Budget decisions on the Arts. The DIA was pleased to be one of very few asked to address the senate inquiry convened to review the Brandis decision.

    Read the DIA’s Response to the Inquiry Terms of Reference

    Since that time two key things have happened: On 20 November the new Minister for the Arts the Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield released final guidelines for a new arts program Catalyst – Australian Arts and Culture Fund (Catalyst) that will replace the proposed NPEA.

    The guidelines for Catalyst, propose an investment of $12 million each year in ’innovative projects and initiatives from arts and cultural organisations.’ Projects by, or that involve, small to medium organisations will be given priority.

    In addition the Report on the Senate Inquiry was handed down.

    The discussion around the funding of the arts and the creative sector was continued in ’The Cultural Investment Issue’ of Spark magazine.

  • Free Pitching
    Free pitching undermines the value of design services and destroys the professional standing of designers.

    Free pitching is a term used to describe the supply of design services without payment.

    Free pitching may be initiated by a customer who requests the provision of free services, or it may be initiated by a designer who provides free services in the hope of later payment.

    Free pitching is universally rejected by professional design organisations around the world.

    Free pitching undermines the value of design services and destroys the professional standing of designers.

    DIA’s No Free Pitching Policy


    See also: ico-D stands against crowd-sourced competition for the Tokyo Olympics 2020 logo

  • Environment
    Design and the circular economy

    Reproduced with permission from Artichoke magazine (2015)

    Julie Hobbs FDIA
    National President of the Design Institute of Australia

    “Disruption” seems to be the word du jour. Whether it is being used to describe economic, social, political or technological activity, disruption is characterized as a powerful way of challenging the status quo and the mainstream in order to make space for innovation. Theoretically designers are the ultimate disrupters. They are well placed to continually disrupt through a process that involves interro­gating the premise and stepping outside obvious paradigms in order to generate lateral solutions to complex problems.

    The circular economy is an economic frame-work characterized by its advocates as a major disrupter. It challenges the linear take-make-dispose drivers of production and consumption that have fuelled development since the inception of the industrial revolution in favour of a “regenerative” or “restorative” approach. The model is described as having the potential to redefine our notion of economic growth in the twenty-first century. It posits a way to balance economic, environmental and social sustaina­bility in a context of global competition for rapidly dwindling resources, higher labour and energy costs and climate change.

    Critically, it appears the circular economy’s time has come. In January this year, the World Economic Forum in conjunction with the Circular Economy Taskforce, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and McKinsey ∞ Company launched Project Mainstream, a global campaign to accelerate the scale and rate of adoption of circular economy principles by business. Philips, IKEA, Renault, Cisco, Unilever, H&M and Lego are just a few of the companies publicly committed to a model they perceive as optimizing value for business though a reconceptualization of the supply chain, the redefinition of “waste” as a nutrient and the uncoupling of revenue from natural resource and ecosystem exploitation.1

    The circular economy model is based on the principle of indefinitely drawing and reusing biological and industrial resources from within existing supply chains in a closed loop or circular manner in ways that minimize loss of value. The model references and synthesizes a range of environmental, economic, industrial ecology factors and design sources including works that are familiar to designers, such as Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough.2

    For those immersed in sustainable design across all disciplines it seems reasonable to beg the question of how this model differs from recycling. Is this in reality just about nomenclature or the rebranding of work and thinking already in place? Aren’t design for disassembly, repurposing, re-use and sustainable urban design and built environment principles already mainstream concepts in the design and manufacturing galaxy?

    The proponents of the circular economy model argue that it represents the logical and necessary extension to previous notions of sustainability because the regenerative approach provides the added incentive of phenomenal projected revenue creation. They maintain that the circular economy goes further than sustainability and that there are compelling reasons as to why it should. Andrew Morlet, CEO of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, suggests that “focusing on design and innovation for restorative systems that keep products, components and materials at their highest value and which can work in the long run is by far more inspiring and compelling, and economically more valuable than simply focusing on sustaining a linear system that has been shown not to work.”3

    The circular economy also taps into the emergence of a consumer more prepared to accept the benefits of product access and sharing than product ownership. According to Philips CEO Frans van Houten, circular economy principles make perfect sense in a product sector where rapidly changing technology and high capital costs make consumers reluctant to make big investments. Philips has redefined the essence of their business as being about a service – lighting, rather than the sale of lighting fixture products. He says, “Customers pay us for the light, we take care of the technology risk and investment and have access to the materials to take them back and re-use them … this kind of innovation helps us to move away from selling products towards selling high value solutions.”4

    For designers, this systems perspective offers perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the circular economy. Designers at Philips are encouraged to design products for the long term. They design for future upgrading, serviceability and materials and component reuse. This is a collaborative process that requires them to be aware of all parts of the supply chain as materials flow in and out of production.

    The attitudinal shift towards collaborative ownership also presents opportunities for branding and visual communication. The user’s sense of identity and desire for a product will be less informed by the need for permanent ownership and more about the experience it provides.

    In a context where the slowness of interna­tional reactions to climate change might be mitigated by a more coordinated and proactive corporate response, perhaps the circular economy offers hope.

    For interested designers, there will certainly be a place at the circular economy table.

    1. Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “Project Mainstream,” Ellen MacArthur Foundation website, ellenmacarthur­foundation.org/business/project-mainstream. pp 2-4 (accessed 2 February 2015)

    2. Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “Rethink the Future,” Ellen MacArthur Foundation website, www.ellenmacarthur­foundation.org (accessed 2 February 2015)

    3. Andrew Morlet personal comment, December 2014

    4. T. Fleming & M. Zils, “Towards a Circular Economy: Philips CEO Frans van Houten,” McKinsey & Company website, mckinsey.com/insights/sustainability/toward_a_circular_ economy_philips, p1 (accessed 5 February 2015)

    5. N. Liddell, “The Rise of the Circular Marketer,” The Huffington Post website, huffingtonpost.co.uk/ nick-liddell/marketing_b_5649877, p2 (accessed 20 January 2015)